In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the number of knee joint replacements nearly doubled. Hip joint replacements followed a similar trend. If you laid a chart of the increase in obesity in the United States during the same period over these two charts, you’d see a very similar trend.
Add to these trends the population bubble of aging baby boomers plus the desire of today’s mature adults to stay more active and you have a perfect storm for wear and tear on hip and knee joints. The result: the need for more joint replacements.
“We’re seeing younger people with severe joint pain,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Rodney Alan, MD. “These patients also tend to either be overweight, or these patients really like to stay active with tennis, dancing or other forms of exercise. Luckily, surgical techniques and implants have improved markedly over the last decade, enabling us to replace a joint and return people to work and life sooner.”
About 60% of people with osteoarthritis (called “wear-and-tear” arthritis) are women. And an increasing number of women in their 40s are seeking joint replacements, many due to over exercising – too many group classes or distance running after a period of no exercise.
Yet the bulk of the need by younger people for joint replacement may be our inclination to gain too much weight. For every extra pound we put on, the force on the knee increases 3 to 5 times that 1 pound when going up steps.
With extra weight come other problems as well. According to a federally funded database, people under age 60 in need a joint replacement are also likely to be overweight and have other health problems associated with obesity, such as pulmonary or heart conditions and diabetes.
SELF-TEST: DO YOU NEED A KNEE OR HIP REPLACEMENT?
So are you older, more active or maybe a bit heavier than you were? And does that man you need a knee or hip joint replacement?
No online test can truly determine if you need joint replacement surgery. However, two online applications can help determine how urgently you need to see an Orthopedic Specialist.
Use the links below to rate yourself.
Find Your Hip Replacement Score.
Find your Knee Joint Replacement Score.
If your hip or knee pain and stiffness bothers you everyday, see an Orthopedic Specialist near you.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, OrthopaedicScores.com